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Sally Ride Day

May 26 is Sally Ride Day! Learn more about America’s first female astronaut by watching this brief biography video. Then check out some of the books below to learn more about Sally Ride and women in space.

Sally Ride Book Jacket
Most people know Sally Ride as the first American female astronaut to travel in space. But in her lifetime she was also a nationally ranked tennis player, a physicist who enjoyed reading Shakespeare, a university professor, the founder of a company that helped inspire girls and young women to pursue careers in science and math, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Almost Astronauts Book Jacket
What does it take to be an astronaut? Excellence at flying, courage, intelligence, resistance to stress, top physical shape — any checklist would include these. But when America created NASA in 1958, there was another unspoken rule: you had to be a man. Here is the tale of thirteen women who proved that they were not only as tough as the toughest man but also brave enough to challenge the government. They were blocked by prejudice, jealousy, and the scrawled note of one of the most powerful men in Washington. But even though the Mercury 13 women did not make it into space, they did not lose, for their example empowered young women to take their place in the sky, piloting jets and commanding space capsules.

Wings and Rockets Book Jacket
From Katharine Wright, sister of the Wright brothers, to Eileen Collins, the first woman commander of a spacecraft, scores of women have played critical roles in our country’s history of aviation. Although Katharine Wright was among the first women to ride in an airplane, Blanche Stuart Scott was the first to sit at the controls. To achieve her dream, Blanche overcame sexism and other obstacles. The same can be said of every woman whose piloting career is highlighted here – Bessie Coleman, Amelia Earhart, Jackie Cochran, Ann Baumgartner Carl, Jerrie Cobb, Shannon Wells Lucid, and others.

(Book summaries are from publisher descriptions.)

Memorial Day

Memorial Day in the United States began in the years following the Civil War as a way to honor and keep in memory the country’s fallen soldiers. For many years, Memorial Day, first known as Decoration Day, was celebrated on May 30 as people decorated the graves of those who had died in the Civil War. Following World War I, however, Memorial Day became a day to honor all of America’s dead in any war. In 1971, Memorial Day was established as a federal holiday that would be celebrated on the last Monday in May. This year Memorial Day falls on May 25.

Learn more about Memorial Day by visiting Today in History at the Library of Congress.

You might also take a look at these books about the history of America at war:

A Civil War Scrapbook Book Jacket
An activities-complemented history of the Civil War documents key events while assessing the experiences of contributors ranging from minorities and women to children and animal mascots, in a chronology that also covers such topics as period technological breakthroughs and the importance of music in the military.
World War One for Kids Book Jacket
This richly illustrated book goes in depth into such fascinating topics as turn-of-the-20th-century weaponry and the important roles animals played in the war, and explains connections among events and how the war changed the course of history. Hands-on activities illuminate both the war and the times.
World War II Book Jacket
This book provides a concise history of World War II including information about the Holocaust, the code-breaking Enigma, and the deadly V2 rocket. It explores every aspect of the Second World War from the impact of World War I and the implication of unstable peace to the significant events that sparked the path to war.
10,000 Days of Thunder Book Jacket
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Philip Caputo writes about our country’s most controversial war — the Vietnam War — for young readers. From the first stirrings of unrest in Vietnam under French colonial rule, to American intervention, to the battle at Hamburger Hill, to the Tet Offensive, to the fall of Saigon, 10,000 Days of Thunder explores the war that changed the lives of a generation of Americans and that still reverberates with us today.

(Book summaries are from publisher descriptions.)

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day will be celebrated in the U.S. this Sunday, May 10. Learn more about the history of Mother’s Day by watching this short History Channel video. Then check out one of the books below and celebrate mom by sharing a story or activity together!

Mother’s Day Books to Share!

Book Jacket

Wanting to give his mother something special for this year’s Mother’s Day, T. Rex recruits his helpful companions to turn his mother’s simple car into an amazing work of art that is sure to impress!

Book Jacket

Each child in Mrs. Madoff’s class knows just how to celebrate Mother’s Day. Jessica and her mom go hiking together. Sam helps pick out a new kitchen table. Sarah and her dad take Grandma to her favorite restaurant. And when a surprise visitor comes to class, the kids learn how to make a handmade gift that’s straight from the heart.

Book Jacket

Drawing is fun, but knitting is betterbecause you can wear it! Knitting isn’t easy, though, and can be a little frustrating. Maybe the best thing to do is combine talents. A trip to the beach offers plenty of inspiration. Soon mom and daughter are collaborating on a piece of art they can share together: a special drawing made into a knitted beach blanket.

Book Jacket

In pictures and simple text, a mother and child spend their day together.

hero mom

The moms in this book are superheroes. They may not leap over tall buildings, and they may not have super-human speed. But these moms construct buildings, fly planes, and make tanks roll. They do all kinds of things to help create a safer world. These superheroes are moms. Military moms. Hero moms.

mom me cookbook

With basic cooking techniques and tips, simple first recipes, and nutritious meal ideas, a family cookbook helps children ages three and up work with their parents to prepare an array of favorite foods.

Things to Do With Mom Book Jacket

Presents a series of fun activities that children can do with their mother, covering such projects as making fortune cookies, customizing a t-shirt, painting china, and playing the category game.

(Book summaries are from publisher descriptions.)

Children’s Book Week

Children's Book Week
Children’s Book Week is an annual celebration of children’s books and the joy of reading. This year children’s book week is May 4 – 10.

If you would like to vote in the Children’s Choice Book Awards, you may do so at the special voting website. Voting is open until May 3. Winners will be announced at the Children’s Choice Book Awards Ceremony on May 4 in New York City and online.

And in celebration of Children’s Book Week, here are some of our favorite children’s books. We hope you enjoy!

For younger kids:

Book Jacket

When Cow gets her hooves on the farmer’s car, she takes it for a wild ride through the country.

flight school

Little Penguin, who has the “soul of an eagle,” enrolls in flight school.

elephant piggie

Elephant Gerald and Piggie want to go for a drive, but as Gerald thinks of one thing after another that they will have to take along, they come to realize that they lack the most important thing of all.

meerkat mail

Through a series of flip-up postcards addressed to his family, Sunny Meerkat documents his travels as he searches for the perfect place for him to live.

billy miller

Seven-year-old Billy Miller starts second grade with a bump on his head and a lot of worries, but by the end of the year he has developed good relationships with his teacher, his little sister, and his parents and learned many important lessons.


Third-grader Clementine’s school field trip to Plimoth Plantation leads to all kind of discoveries, from fourth grade eating rules to the source of the stink on the bus.

no pictures

In this book with no pictures, the reader has to say every silly word, no matter what.

For older kids:

eighth day

Orphan Jax Aubrey doesn’t expect much on his thirteenth birthday, but when he discovers there’s an extra day squeezed between Wednesday and Thursday whose origins are rooted in Arthurian legend, it’s clear his life will never be the same.


Since her father’s death in a factory in the Dragonfly territories, thirteen-year-old Piper has eked out a living as a scrapper in Merrow Kingdom, but the arrival of a mysterious girl sends her on a dangerous journey to distant lands.


The Boundless, the greatest train ever built, is on its maiden voyage across the country, and first-class passenger Will Everett is about to embark on the adventure of his life! When Will ends up in possession of the key to a train car containing priceless treasures, he becomes the target of sinister figures from his past. In order to survive, Will must join a traveling circus, enlisting the aid of Mr. Dorian, the ringmaster and leader of the troupe, and Maren, a girl his age who is an expert escape artist. With villains fast on their heels, can Will and Maren reach Will’s father and save The Boundless before someone winds up dead?


When Miss Lana accidentally buys a haunted inn at the Tupelo Landing town auction, Desperado Detectives–aka Mo LoBeau and her best friend Dale–opens up a paranormal division to solve the ghost’s identity before the town’s big 250th anniversary bash.


Ellie’s scientist grandfather has discovered a way to reverse aging, and consequently has turned into a teenager–which makes for complicated relationships when he moves in with Ellie and her mother, his daughter.

ferris wheel

Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, Winter, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for Star to make friends, when her classmates tease her because of where she lives and because of her layered blue hair. But when Star starts a poetry club, she develops a love of Emily Dickinson and, through Dickinson’s poetry, learns some important lessons about herself and comes to terms with her hopes for the future.

Icefall Book Jacket

Trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen sea, Solveig, along with her brother the crown prince, their older sister, and an army of restless warriors, anxiously awaits news of her father’s victory at battle. But as winter stretches on, and the unending ice refuses to break, terrible acts of treachery soon make it clear that a traitor lurks in their midst.

(Book summaries are from publisher descriptions.)

Happy Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 22nd is Earth Day!

earth day pic 1

Earth Day began on April 22nd, 1970, and is credited with starting the environmental movement we have today.

There are so many ways to celebrate Earth Day and to develop appreciation and respect for our planet. Let’s take a look at what the Alameda County Library has going on for Earth Day!

As you know, there’s a book for everything! Check out some children’s books from the library on Earth Day.

earth book

If your child is interested in science or, more specifically, earth science, check out the Alameda County Library STEM guide. There are so many great resources! Study Jams is a site that focuses on earth science for kids, ZOOMsci has a section on life science, and the Lawrence Hall of Science has an activity that helps kids understand oil spills, just to name just a few.

We also have free events celebrating Earth Day (that last far into the month of May) – If you haven’t seen it yet, Uncle Jer’s Traveling Bee Show is something you don’t want to miss! Shows are coming next to Irvington, Castro Valley and Dublin. These all-ages shows are informative, fun and delicious. Their website also has information on bees and their environment. Go for the show, stay for the honey stick!


Is your child a tinkerer? Consider crafts and activities that use recyclables. Tinkerlab shows 50 activities that you and your family can do together. If you’re feeling really ambitious, consider this video from the University of Maine on composting in your own home — using worms!

In closing, Peppa Pig will tell us about recycling. Enjoy all, and have a lovely Earth Day!

National Library Week = “Unlimited possibilities @ your library®.”

Where can I learn and think and read?

Is there such a place for me?

Why, yes there is! Yes, indeed!

The one, the only, the Library!

One of our wonderful library clerks, Jesus Romero, crafted this poem in honor of the week, because this week is National Library Week!

What is National Library Week, you ask? The American Library Association states that since 1958, “National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.” This week National Library Week is April 12th-18th. The theme is “Unlimited possibilities @ your library®.”

What better way to celebrate National Library Week than by visiting your local library branch and exploring all it has to offer. Or check out the Alameda County Library’s Calendar of Events. There are so many programs and services to choose from – and all for free!

One of the special days celebrated during National Library Week is National Bookmobile Day, on April 15th. In celebration of the day, the Alameda County Library Bookmobile created a wonderful video showing what they do and the impact they have on our community. Check it out here:

What does your library mean to you? Library Quotes has created a database of quotes from authors, celebrities, politicians, and many others who have expressed their love of libraries. See a quote you like? Made up your own? Tell your local librarian, and spread the library love!

Shel Silverstein : Poet for all ages

Do you remember the poetry books A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein?

I remember looking through both books as a kid and laughing out loud at the poems within. I was recently given a copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends, and I’ve found myself flipping through the book before starting my day, picking poems at random, and once again laughing out loud.

A Light in the Attic cover.jpg          where-the-sidewalk-ends-shared-picture-166962978

Silverstein (1930-1999) was a prolific poet, children’s book author, song-writer, playwright, and cartoonist who appeals to children and adults alike. Check out Silverstein’s website for information about his books, free downloads, games and videos!

What is your favorite Silverstein poem? Here is one of mine:

Happy reading! Happy listening!


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